We usually take a few days a year to be tourists in our own city; to explore the things we never do, because we live here.
Our morning began with a brisk run. For the second year in a row, our girls participated in the Munchkin Run as a part of the SF Marathon. Todd and I beamed with pride as our girls crossed the finish line and received their medals!
After the run, the touring began! We took one of the historic F Market trains to the far end of Fisherman’s Wharf toward Hyde Street Pier. The pier is home to the SF Maritime National Historical Park and 6 very cool ships that have been transformed into museums – really nice museums.
After paying $5 admission per adult, which includes a free guided cell phone tour, (keep your receipt, it’s good for admission up to 5 days afterward), we walked up the pier. Along the way, there are pulleys and knot tying displays that are informative and interactive - the kids had a lot of fun playing with the ropes and lifting cargo. We were thinking, oh this is pretty cool... then we boarded the ships.
The first ship we visited, The Balclutha, is full on cool. Many interactive displays guided us through as we learned about the many stages of the ship's life - in San Francisco, the Pacific Northwest, Australia and Alaska. The living quarters were fully restored with the cargo area designed to display all of the different types of cargo that was carried throughout the years. The girls absolutely loved exploring. This was our favorite ship. Plus, it looked like a pirate ship to them.
We then headed over to the Eureka, a steam powered ferry, which used to work in the Bay. It is very well preserved, and fully loaded with countless restored vehicles of the time. They do a wonderful job showing the inner workings of the paddles that helped to move the ferry.
The Steam Tug Hercules was next, it also was pretty cool, showing off the captains bunks and engines, but that tour was cut short by Maren needing to potty.
The CA Thayer was being restored, so we didn’t get to see much, but I imagine it will be pretty cool too when finished.
There were more ships, and a small craft exhibit that Todd wished was open, but the day was getting long, so we left the pier and headed to the Maritime Museum Visitor’s Center across the street in the Argonaut Hotel. It is a superb hands on interactive museum about the Bay Area and how ships helped to make the city what it is today. Maisy even took her Junior Ranger’s Test at the visitor's information desk where she earned her Junior Ranger badge.
By this time we had to return home because Mina, the labradoodle, needed her people and we hopped back on the street train, then back on to BART and walked our tired selves home.